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One Morning in July: The Man Who Was First on the Scene Tells His Story Hardcover – 2 Jul 2007
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'I can remember the events of that morning as clearly as if they had happened to me yesterday. In fact, I think they will be etched onto my memory for the rest of my life. That day was an experience so profound that it had affected every aspect of my existence ever since, and I have no doubt that it has changed me fundamentally as a person...' On 7th July 2005, as morning rush hour was drawing to a close, four suicide bombers struck in central London, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds more. Three bombs were detonated on underground trains just outside Liverpool Street and Edgware Road stations and on another travelling between King's Cross and Russell Square. The final explosion was on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. PC Aaron Debnam is a rapid response officer with the British Transport Police and it was his unit that took the call to attend Russell Square station. Nothing could have prepared him for the devastation and chaos that he would encounter when he was first on the scene that horrific day.His great inner strength and courage got him past the hoardes of lost and shocked commuters, down into the smoke filled, blisteringly hot underground tunnel and onto the train to try and help those who were still alive. This deeply moving and personal recollection offers a unique insight into a terrorist attack that shocked the whole country and reminds us that, even in the face of a tragedy of such devastating proportions, the goodness of the human spirit can still shine through. It also explored the lasting effect that the attacks had on Aaron and how he has struggled to come to terms with what he encountered that day. The power of this story will change your life.
About the Author
Aaron was born in 1979 in Gravesend, Kent. His mother married three times resulting in many moves and an unsettled childhood. Aaron was an 'unruly teenager' and in an effort to sort himself out he joined the Infantry in 1996, seeing tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. He married in 1999 but has since separated from his wife. He has one son. Aaron joined the British Transport Police in 2003 as a Rapid Response Officer. He has attended several major incidents apart from 7/7 including the Reading train crash. On 7th July Aaron was based at Tottenham Court Road. He is now based at Finsbury Park and lives in Kent.
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Aaron Debnam was the first on the scene at Russell Square station and in this book, we read of the horrors of that day. Horrors that changed the lives of survivors and rescuers alike. The account of the rescue is so well written that we are there, in the dark and frightening tunnel that is the London Tube train system. Aaron so eloquently describes the scene, his feelings, frustrations, fears and emotion at what these terrorists have unleashed. Aaron and his colleagues work tirelessly in the worst of conditions, but it is their determination to try and salvage what life they find in the twisted metal carcass of the train carriage, that keeps them all going.
But what happens after the rescue? Do the rescuers carry on with their jobs as normal? How traumatised are they by what they have seen and heard? As time goes on, do the memories of what they saw and heard fade, so that Aaron and his colleagues can get back to a normal life, life as it was before July 2005 in London? What is PTSD? Does it only apply to Forces Personnel? Does it last?
Not only does this book tell a first hand account of this most terrible event, but it tells the story of how difficult like is after the event. It is a story of courage, of determination, of love and of caring and of eventual success in starting a new life post July 2005.
It is an excellent book and I sincerely hope that writing it not only let us into the life of a member of the emergency services, and the life of a survivor, but that in writing it Aaron and feel really proud of what he did and finally realise and take on board that HE IS A HERO.
I have very personal reasons for taking an interest in PTSD and I thank Aaron for his honesty and sensitivity in speaking out about what is still largely, a taboo subject. I am touched by his honest and frank approach to the subject, for not sugar coating the truth, and I thank him for finding the courage to share his story. This is, without doubt, one of the hardest books I have ever read but I really hope that in writing it Aaron may have found some of the peace that he truly deserves. A remarkable story from a remarkable man. I hope since writing this book that life has treated him a lot kinder than it did that horrible morning in July.
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